E4 SHUTS DOWN TO ENCOURAGE VIEWERS TO SPEAK UP

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Channel 4’s youth-orientated sister station, E4, is to shut down on Election Day to encourage its viewers to get off the sofa, head out to their local polling stations and vote.

From 7am to 7pm on May 7, the channel will effectively be off-air. Instead of being met with their favourite Big Bang Theory or Made in Chelsea characters, those tuning in will be greeted by Darren – E4’s fictional controller, who will flip the control room switch to off – and his advice to vote.

Figures have revealed that less than half of under-25s voted in the last general election and, for a network with such a strong hold on this demographic, I think this is an admirable move by Channel 4.

The switch off is a valiant attempt to boost political interest among Britain’s youth and one that comes alongside a string of other initiatives, including the first ever Youth Leaders’ Debate and 4NewsWall – an online news outlet aimed at 16 to 34-year-olds.

Speaking from experience, I can tell you that for a younger person, the world of politics can be a very bewildering place. Every newspaper I read, and website I visit, tells me I should believe something different and, just as I think I’ve come to some kind of conclusion on which party to vote for, my mind changes again.

Despite this, I’m still very much inclined to exercise my right to vote and have done my research in order to determine my political sway. That’s thanks to online outlets such as Vote for Policies – which allows you to rank anonymised policies from each party to help you make an unbiased decision on which party to vote for – and the wonderful Scenes of Reason, which decodes the news to offer manifestos and policies in easily absorbed bite-size chunks.

However, not everyone my age is that way inclined and that’s why I believe it’s vital that other platforms with younger audiences – such as social media and radio – use their influence to encourage and educate viewers in the lead-up to the election.

@sophiemarygreen

SOPHIE